How I Started Running

sibling 5k

This is me with some of my siblings (I am on the left), before we did a 5k together last year (my brother’s first!).

In 2008, I had never done more than the mile they used to require in P.E. class (I’m not sure, but I don’t think they do this anymore?). Even then, I would whine and moan and walk most of it. I was always one of the last to finish. My whole life I had accepted that I would never be athletic. I could never climb that evil P.E. rope, either, for the record. I could barely even dangle at the bottom of the rope. The kids that could were like circus acrobats to me. Books were my area of expertise, and I was fine with that.

Then I got a job, waiting tables and bartending, with a girl who had ran several marathons. I absolutely could not fathom than anyone would ever do that, but I was charmed by her super lean and muscular body. I was also really jealous of the power she must feel from being able to push her body that far. Still, I thought it wasn’t even worth trying for. In addition to being out of shape, I have asthma. I had so many excuses…

Suddenly, some other girls at work wanted to run a four mile Turkey Trot. I thought the idea was preposterous, but was intrigued by the idea of getting a work out before pigging out on Thanksgiving. I signed up and meant to train, but had no idea how. I essentially didn’t train at all, but managed to run a good portion of the race. Apparently the other cardio I was doing helped me through! I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to do more.

When I tried to run on my own, I failed massively. Then I heard about Couch to 5k. It seemed to me like it was for wimps because it involves a lot of walking in the beginning. It turns out, running is really hard, and alternating running and walking is perfect for a beginner. The workouts were hard for me, but worked perfectly. I can’t even explain to you how proud I felt the day I ran two miles without stopping. I thought I might cry. I told everyone I knew (for the record, most people are not impressed by this. I have no idea why. I am very impressed!).

From there, I just kept adding more. My sister signed me up for a half marathon, but I wasn’t ready. I switched to an 8k. I did a 10k, and eventually (after running for a few years) two half marathons. I have never been fast, but I was happy just with the sense of accomplishment it gave me being able to cover the distance.

I will be honest- a lot of what made me sign up for a half marathon was the fact that my sister did one first, and I was so impressed by her. If she could do it, I wanted to do it too! The family decided long ago that she was the strong and athletic one, and I wanted to be like that too. I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours and 17 minutes. I was very happy with that time, and then was so sore I could barely move for a few days. I loved feeling like I was no longer in the box of “oh, she’s just not athletic”. Title IX made so much possible for girls and women, and I want to take advantage of it. Gone are the days when women couldn’t run long distances because of crazy ideas like that it would ruin our reproductive organs. We are strong, and we can do whatever we want to with that strength 🙂

Tomorrow I will tell you my full marathon story, because I don’t want to make this too long. Who else loves to run? Well… maybe I have a love/hate relationship with running, but it gives me a feeling that no other work out can.

Jillian